The Bad Guys

The Bad Guys ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

Director: Pierre Perifel. Cast: Sam RockwellMarc MaronAwkwafina Craig Robinson Richard Ayoade Anthony Ramos

Not every animated film needs to be a life affirming experience, nor does it necessarily need to have any deep, profound or meaningful metaphor underneath. And of course it doesn’t have to break any ground with new technical achievement. In other words, not every animated film can be made by Pixar or Miyazaki.

Sometimes it’s OK to have something that is just mindless fun, pure entertainment and… with lots of fart gags!

Based on children’s book series by Australian author Aaron Blabey and riffing on the heist-movie genre, “The Bad Guys” follows a band of bank robbers, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, and Ms. Tarantula, all of whom look like they could be straight out of one of the Ocean’s films.

After a heist gone wrong, they’re sent to prison. In an effort to avoid doing time behind bars, they’re forced to turn good … or at least pretend to, until the next con.

French animator director Pierre Perifel, channels a 70s vibe both in the soundtrack and the visuals, arcing back to the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons and taking inspiration from those classic car chases from films like “Bullit” or “Gone in 60 seconds” and even “The Blues Brothers”.

It is an incredibly fast-paced film, with never a dull moment. Occasionally it risks to drift into complete chaos (the final chase, for example, is a bit “over-the-top”), but it’s beautifully constructed, never confusing and often even surprisingly clever.

The film might not that emotional layer we’ve grown to appreciate in the post Pixar-era and in some of the most recent animated films, but what lacks in depth and subtlety, certainly gets compensated by the kinetic frenzy and the exuberant sense of fun.

It’ll also keep you guessing thorough a series of (mostly) unexpected twists and turns right to the end credits (In fact, make sure you stick around for epilogue).

All of that is then topped up by a great voice cast, with names like Marc Maron, Anthony Ramos, Craig Robinson, Awkwafina, Richard Ayoade and led by lead by Sam Rockwell as Mr. Wolf, who oozes coolness and swagger to shame even George Clooney’s Ocean character. They may be voicing “bad guys”, but there’s certainly not a bad performance among them.

I went in, taking my son and his friends, expecting the worse, and we all left the packed Chiswick Cinema with a big smile on our faces.

A pleasant surprise!

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